10 Best Nintendo DS RPGs Of All Time, According To Ranker

RPGs seem to lend themselves particularly well to the portable game system format, at least by subgenre. Naturally, this has made the acclaimed Nintendo DS handheld console an excellent home for countless classic RPGs. As the Switch and Switch Lite attempt to keep up, gamers can’t help but fondly reminisce about games of the past.

This becomes clear when looking at the handheld’s impressive library and voting community at private soldier compiled their list of the 10 best games of the genre that the DS had to offer. Unsurprisingly, the JRPG subgenre dominates the list, with representatives from Pokemon, Shin Megami Tenseiand especially dragon quest padding.


Dragon Quest IV: The Chosen One Chapters

Cover of Dragon Quest 4

Square-Enix dragon quest franchise has seen its global popularity boosted by the acclaim of DQ XI: Echoes of an Elusive Era. However, given the series’ sprawling 36-year franchise, there have been many acclaimed classics.

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Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen been originally released in 1990 for the NES, eventually remade for the Nintendo DS in 2007 and 2008 internationally. This may seem tedious for the uninitiated, but Chapters of the Chosen was well received and considered a must-have game for franchise and JRPG veterans.

Rune Factory 3: A Fantasy Harvest Moon

Micah in his human, woolly form in the Rune Factory 3 cover art.

A spin-off from the greatest harvest moon series, Rune Factory 3: A Fantasy Harvest Moon does exactly what the title suggests. The game takes the beloved simulation RPG gameplay from the parent series and gives it a high fantasy makeover.

The player character, Micah, wakes up without his memories before meeting Sharah, who brings him to town and tasks him with helping raise her farm. Rune factory 3 launches dungeon crawling and fighting mechanics against his monsters, while being able to tame some of them. The game received positive reviews for being an inventive spin-off.

Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey

The cast of Task Force characters in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey.

While its offshoot Personage series has taken most of the spotlight in recent years, Atlus’ Shin Megami Tensei the parent series is very successful and even enjoyed a resurgence thanks to the last year CMS V being one of the best Nintendo Switch RPGs.

The story follows a special United Nations task force tasked with investigating a mysterious space warp threatening the world. Taking control of the protagonist, players venture into the environments of the warp battling and encountering demons. strange journey was positively received for its dark and bizarre story and engaging demon-combination system.

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor

Key art for the Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 3DS remaster with the main cast.

In a twist of the main line Shin Megami Tensei Games, surviving devil took a tactical-RPG twist on the conventional formula. The game focuses on high school students in modern Tokyo who have to deal with an outbreak of demons. surviving devilThe protagonist of attains the ability to see people’s remaining lifespan, becoming determined to save as many as possible.

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It was well received for its sleek new art direction, providing a nice visual change of pace. Likewise, its intriguing and branching storyline and unique take on tactical combat were also praised. To like strange trip, surviving devil received a Nintendo 3DS remaster.

Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation

The DS remake of Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation as of 2010 (Japan) and 2011 (internationally), it was the first time a form of the game had come out of its home country. It received solid critical reception, with a pair of real-life and dreamlike settings akin to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

In terms of play, realms of revelation received high marks for its streamlined class system and inventory management features. The game has since received an Android and iOS mobile port as well.

Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Celestial Bride

Promotional art for Dragon Quest V and its main cast of characters.

Originally released for the Super Nintendo, Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Celestial Bride was a successful attempt to integrate Shin Megami Tenseithe monster collecting mechanic, which would later become the heart of the Pokemon franchise. The Nintendo DS remake won acclaim for beautifully revamping and modernizing the experience for its time.

The story was praised for being a gripping and emotionally resonant coming-of-age tale, as well as its spin on monster-collecting gameplay. Nowadays, DQV is generally considered a fan favorite among longtime fans.

Pokemon HeartGold & SoulSilver

Ho-Oh and Lugia in promo art for HeartGold and SoulSilver against a gold and silver background

They are also Ranker’s top voted Pokemon games, and it’s a popular sentiment among many veteran fans of the franchise. This marked a new high for the main series of games, like Game Freak’s HeartGold and SoulSilver took the original pair of acclaimed Game Boy Color classics and improved upon them in almost every way imaginable.

Updating the Johto region with quality of life improvements and extending the Pokédex to the Sinnoh generation was a breath of fresh air. Likewise, it was when the main line Pokemon the games had a wealth of post-game single-player content.

Suikoden Tierkreis

One of 108 new Suikoden Tierkreis characters in key art.

Before Konami left high-end gaming for pachinko machines, one of their beloved IP addresses was the Suikoden series. It was an acclaimed RPG series from the original PlayStation era, but, like all other Konami properties, it was overlooked for years. Tierkreis was a spin-off game that focused on a multiversal setting, exploring themes of predetermination as the protagonist gathers allies to fight an entity attempting to rule and force its fatalistic doctrine across the universe.

Players traverse 3D environments and engage in random battles in traditional turn-based combat. Suikoden Tierkreis received generally positive reception for the broad scope and gameplay of its narrative, however, some felt it was too far removed from the main series.

radiant history

Radiant Historia Splash Art

A separate JRPG from Atlus Shin Megami Tensei and Personage spin off, radiant history was a stylistic amalgam of CMS and Square Enix and tri-Ace Radiata Stories. The game’s high-fantasy world is set on the politically divided continent of Vainqueur, where protagonist Stocke receives a tome that allows him to jump between timelines to prevent his degradation.

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radiant history was praised for handling a darker, more complex JRPG story and implementing time travel mechanics as a proper gameplay feature. It also received a 3DS remake in 2017/18.

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Sky

A boy holds a sword while a girl leans on hers in Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Sky.

Reigning at the top of Ranker’s list is the 9th main entry in the dragon quest franchise. It also reflects specific reception to critics, such as Sentinels of the Starry Sky is the highest ranked dragon quest game on Metacritic for the DS and 3rd overall. The game was the first to be initially released on a handheld system, as previous games were later ported to the DS.

Designed to be the hardest game in the series, Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Sky nonetheless managed to be one of the best games in the franchise and introduced new mechanics like enemy spawns rather than random encounters, and multiplayer gameplay, while retaining the spirit of previous games.

NEXT: 10 Best PS2 RPGs Of All Time, According To Ranker

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